BRISBANE coach Chris Fagan says he is a "little surprised" that Gold Coast counterpart Rodney Eade went public with concerns over umpiring ahead of Saturday night's QClash at Metricon Stadium.
Eade was highly critical of methods used by Lions defender Harris Andrews on Suns co-captain Tom Lynch when the sides met in the pre-season, saying it was akin to "World Championship Wrestling".
Eade said he might take his concerns to the AFL umpiring department but toned down his anger when asked about the issue on Thursday.
Fagan said he had no problem with how Andrews attempted to negate Lynch and backed the umpires to make the right decisions.
"I watch a lot of football and I've watched a lot of football over the years and what I see in clashes against tall backs and tall forwards is that sometimes forwards are holding on and wrestling and sometimes backs are holding on and wrestling," Fagan said.
"I trust that the umpires are going to look at each situation and umpire it fairly.
"To be honest, I'm a little surprised that Rocket decided to go down that pathway and try and influence the way that umpires might make their decision.
"I'm very confident they'll umpire the game on their merits."
Fagan wants his players to steer clear of the spite that has become part of the Sunshine Stoush.
"We've just really talked about playing with effort and commitment and doing whatever it takes to play the best that we can play," he said.
"We want to be hard at the footy but obviously we want to play within the rules and all that sort of stuff.
"We don't want to get guys rubbed out by the Match Review Panel. We can ill-afford that."
Fagan, 55, has spent a lifetime in football but the Queensland derby is his first foray as an AFL senior coach.
"I'm feeling nervous, I'm feeling excited. I'm just glad it's here. It feels like we've been waiting forever for it," he said.
"But I'm just part of a bigger coaching team and we've worked well together over the summer as have the team. We'll have our challenges in the box and the guys will have their challenges on the oval."
Fagan said the Lions men's team had been given a major boost by the undefeated women's team, which will contest the AFLW grand final against Adelaide at Metricon Stadium earlier in the day.
"We've obviously been inspired by the efforts of the girls. They've shocked the whole competition and it's a credit to them," he said.
"What they do every week is they play with enormous effort and they play with enormous teamwork and we take great heart from that. We'll be trying to emulate the way they play."
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